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40-ish woman with glasses having trouble reading

Quick Tip: Don’t make your readers squint

My pet peeve about B2B content is basic, impossible to argue with, and simple to fix.

Don’t make your readers squint and struggle to read your text

Make your text crisp, easy-to-read, 100% black type.

If you’re a young designer, remember: You’re not designing for yourself.

You’re designing for your readers, many of them 40, 50, even 60 years old.

From the age of 40, people’s eyes begin to change.

Ask any optometrist! Ask your parents! Google it!

You’ll quickly find sources like these:

All these experts on vision—plus many others—agree that as people age, the lenses in the eyes get less flexible.

This makes it harder to focus on smaller print.

That’s why many middle-aged people start to need reading glasses.

Older people also need more contrast to recognize small print.

The WCAG 2.0 accessibility standard says the minimum acceptable contrast between background and foreground colors on a screen is 4.5:1.

Black text on a white background passes this test easily.

But any text in this popular shade of grey (#777777) flunks miserably. Your readers have a tougher time seeing this. So why make them work harder to read your work?

And let’s not forget the many younger folk out there with eyesight challenges. 

So don’t make readers struggle to read your white papers.

They won’t bother. They’ll just click away to something they can read.

If you’re a writer or a marketing manager, don’t put up with grey text.

Make your designer change it and get out of that habit once and for all.


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About Gordon Graham

Worked on 300+ white papers for clients from Silicon Valley to Switzerland, on everything from choosing enterprise software to designing virtual worlds for kids, for clients from tiny startups to 3M, Google, and Verizon. Wrote White Papers for Dummies which earned 50+ 5-star ratings on Amazon. Won 16 awards from the Society for Technical Communication. And named AWAI 2019 Copywriter of the Year.

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